Why you should Never use Salt on Concrete in Winter


You have used salt on your concrete steps, walkway, sidewalk and driveway I’m betting. So has your neighbor.

No need to deny it. I’m not the concrete police. Although I do have an affinity for the material as you may have noticed.

The reason I bring salting driveways up is because we are still in the midst of winter. Don’t let a warm day here and there fool you. Or a lying weatherman with a nice smile.

Winter will be with us a while longer. Consequently we still have to deal with icy conditions. And no one wants to chance slipping on a walkway, winding up in an ER with a concussion or jacked up elbow.

But using salt and other deicers on your hard surfaces around your property simply isn’t a good move. Don’t believe me? Just check out this super-smart looking science guy. That’s not Bill Nye is it?

If you skipped the science lesson in the video from “Dr. Scott” (no Star Trek comments please), here’s the issues with salt use on concrete.

  • It can cause corrosion to the rebar underneath the surface. What do you think that does to the main material? Right, it leads to possible crumbling and cracking.
  • The chemical damage can also cause surface discoloration depending on the deicer you choose.
  • While water that freezes, thaws, then refreezes on concrete is not ideal, it is natural. Thus quality concrete walkways and drives can handle that. It’s the addition of salt and other chemical deicers that put too much stress on the pores of the concrete.

    Snow Damage on Concrete
    Snow Damage on Concrete

Clearly winter time can be a bummer. Most sane folks prefer 70-80 degree days. You know, so you can leave the house without dressing like a snowmobile tow-truck driver. Having to deal with icy surfaces is just another negative part of having an actual winter. Folks in San Diego and Hawaii don’t have to deal with stuff like this of course.

But in the greater Philadelphia region, winter comes each and every year without fail.

So what are some alternatives to dumping salt on your precious driveway during these inevitable cold months?

  • Keep snow shoveled off the main areas to keep ice to a minimum once the freeze sets in.
  • Try pickle brine and urea as a safer alternative.
  • Ever eat beets? I hear they’re pretty healthy. Oh and sugar beet juice is a 100 percent natural ice melting liquid – Although no one eats enough beets to have the juice to deice an entire driveway, the front steps could be treated easily.

Perhaps you read this post a little too late. Maybe your dad came over and tried to do a favor by keeping you safe from icy paths. And now you’ve got concrete damage.


No worries.


Everything can be repaired. If it was built once, it can be rebuilt of course. Either the one section, or you might even use the damaged portion as an excuse to upgrade to a nicer material for your walkway. Hopefully most of you caught this article in time to avoid hurting the walkways and driveways you use daily. We can’t save you from winter, but we can help you protect your property.